Athletic directors approved the tweaking of the Hawaii high school state football tournament format at their annual legislative meeting Thursday afternoon.
The vote in favor of two state tourney format proposals Thursday was 51-40 at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association at its annual legislative meeting at the Kauai Marriott Resort in Lihue. Both measures then moved on to receive final passage from the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board Thursday evening, also at the Marriott.
The most likely eventuality of the two will occur when the Kauai Interscholastic Federation makes official what executive director Jon Kobayashi confirmed is its intention — a declaration of its teams to compete in D-II.
When that declaration becomes official, the legislation gives the go-ahead to add a fifth team (OIA second place) into the D-I mix. A year ago, there were only four D-I state qualifiers.
D-II would likely go down to five teams (two from the OIA and one each from the KIF, BIIF and MIL) from six due to the loss of an ILH representative because that private-school league only has one team (Pac-Five) competing at that level and an HHSAA rule stipulates that a league needs at least two teams to be eligible for one state berth.
So, in simple terms, the 2019 state tournament is likely to have four teams in the Open Division and five in D-I and D-II. A year ago, the breakdown was 4-4-6.
In the unlikely event that the KIF decides to go the D-I route, there would be six teams (two from the OIA and one each from the four other leagues) in D-I and four teams in D-II (two from the OIA and one each from the BIIF and MIL).
In divisions with five teams (something new for the HHSAA), there will be four seeded teams — with the fourth-seeded team facing the unseeded team in the first round prior to the semifinals.
A separate item that passed 50-40-1 at HIADA and then received approval by the HHSAA board exempts the D-I football tournament from normal HHSAA seeding procedures. Now, a league with only two representatives in a particular division (such as ‘Iolani and Damien in ILH D-I) will now be able to have a seeded team, unlike in the past when a league needed three representatives to get a seed. This will actually guarantee that ILH D-I gets a seeded team and that the OIA’s second-place team (the only non-champion) will be the unseeded entry.
Instant replay review was also adopted by a 91-0 vote at HIADA and subsequently passed by the HHSAA board.
Replay review will only be used at televised state tournament football games at Aloha Stadium, and the actual rules that govern it will be set by the HHSAA’s football committee in conjunction with Matt Sumstine, the HHSAA’s coordinator of officials.
In two other notable moves making it through HIADA (90-1 and 80-11) and the HHSAA board:
>> Timing for state tournament soccer matches at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium will be officially kept on the scoreboard clock, with periods running down to 0:00. In the past, the head referee with a watch kept the official time and the scoreboard displayed unofficial time from the start of a period until the two-minute mark.
>> Track and field state championships will no longer have qualifying standards. Instead, the top 24 athletes and four alternates in each event (based on times and distances throughout the season) will qualify for states.